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Ali Al Salem Airmen hear firsthand accounts of women in war; gain once in a lifetime experience

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Arielle Vasquez
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Airmen with the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing, Ali Al Salem Air Base, had the unique opportunity to visit the Kuwait Air Force Museum at Al Mubarak AB, Kuwait, March 14, 2019.

In honor of Women’s History Month, female Airmen visited the 23-year-old museum to meet with local women and learn about their personal experiences in the Gulf War, and gain insight into their lives.

The visit was led by the KAF Museum public relations director Nahed Darweesh, who has worked here since its establishment in 1996.

“People from the last rotation heard Nahed's story and spread the word to us,” said Master Sgt. Sarah Felton, 387th Air Expeditionary Group first sergeant and event organizer. “What started as one event for women, has grown into multiple events, as interest grew and leadership supported sending Airmen to hear their stories.”

During their visit, Airmen viewed aircraft, photos and exhibits from the Kuwait Air Force. They also spent time speaking with the hosts to gain a deeper understanding of the country’s history and the development of the Kuwait Air Force.

“The entire experience was educational, especially because I haven’t learned much about their culture, history or the Kuwait Air Force,” said Staff Sgt. Madeleine Gomez, 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron administrative assistant. “I appreciated the fact that Nahed helped us understand more about their past,” she continued. “I commend their bravery and strength as they were willing to do what a lot of others couldn’t. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so grateful we had this experience.”

All military members in attendance agreed how impactful the visit to the museum was for them. It not only allowed them to interact with other female military members, it allowed them to experience women’s history and culture here.

“Nahed knows, and has worked, with many of the key Kuwait Air Force personnel featured in the museum,” Felton said. “Her first-hand involvement made the stories behind the exhibits personal and relatable.”

Felton recommends the trip to others because it was a personal experience deepening the understanding between women of the two countries, as well as a professional experience between the U.S. and Kuwaiti air forces.

“Learning firsthand the life experiences of our Kuwait Air Force partners allows us to increase the strength of this valuable regional partnership,” said Col. Patrick Schlichenmeyer, 386th AEW commander. “Together, U.S. and Kuwaiti forces play a vital role in regional stability, and continue to enhance regional peace and cooperation initiatives.”